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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 240219
Last updated: 24 October 2021
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Type:Fairey Gannet AS.1
Owner/operator:814 Sqn FAA RN
Registration: XA416
MSN: F.9286
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:HMS Eagle, Moray Firth, off Lossiemouth, Scotland -   United Kingdom
Phase: Standing
Departure airport:HMS Eagle, Moray Firth, off Lossiemouth, Scotland
Destination airport:
Fairey Gannet AS.1 XA416: Built by Fairey Aircraft at Stockport, Cheshire. First flown at Ringway, Manchester 20/5/1956. Delivered to Fairey Aircraft at White Waltham 30/5/1956. Returned to Ringway in June 1956 and then delivered to the FAA RN (Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy) 1/7/1956 at RNAS Anthorn AHU for short term storage.

First issued for service to 824 Squadron FAA RN at HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall) as "330/Z" later "331/Z" on 17/10/1956. To 814 Squadron FAA RN at HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall) as "288/CU" later "285/J" on 4/1/1957.

Sustained damage 22/1/1957 due to an explosion, fire and smoke in cockpit; fire warning lights illuminated, aircraft returned to RNAS Culdrose for damage assessment and repairs. Then returned to service as before as "285/J" with 814 Squadron FAA RN, initially at Culdrose, then embarked aboard HMS Eagle from 3/8/1957.

Written off (destroyed) 20/8/1957: During the NATO Exercise "Strikeback", the aircraft was awaiting takeoff HMS Eagle behind another Gannet, while operating in the Moray Firth, Northern Scotland. The gusty conditions and the slipstream of the other Gannet caused the port wing to lift, and the aircraft swung through 180 degrees. It then slid over the side of the ship and entered the water inverted. The pilot escaped, but the other two crew drowned

Crew of Gannet XA416:
Lieutenant T.M.B Seymour (pilot) - escaped and survived, rescued
Lieutenant William P.H. Swayne (Observer) - killed on active service 20/8/1957
Act/Leading Telegraphist (Aircrew) Raymond K Llewellyn, Service Number JX 918451- killed on active service 20/8/1957

According to an eyewitness report (see link #3):

"I was on the flight deck of the Eagle when the Gannet went backwards over the stern. We were towing a splash target at the time. The pilot escaped by climbing out over the nose as the props were shattered by hitting the flight deck. After the accident there was dead silence over the whole ship. It was quite eerie...

There were three Gannets at the rear of the flight deck in 'herring bone' formation. The aircraft that went over the side was on the port side of the deck, another on the starboard and one in the middle in front of the other two. When the centre one put the engines on full power and started to move forward the back draught seemed to catch the one on the port side and lift a wing. It was at an angle and the starboard undercarriage went over the side first. At this point it disappeared from my view. I wondered if the splash target had hit the Gannet. I suppose it is possible that the front of the aircraft slewed round out of my sight. Those on the quarter deck would see it as it hit the sea".


1. Fleet Air Arm Fixed Wing Aircraft since 1946 (Ray Sturtivant et al, Air Britain, 2004 p 314)
6. .

Revision history:

18-Aug-2020 18:14 Dr. John Smith Added
18-Aug-2020 20:36 soucek56 Updated [Operator, Operator]
20-Aug-2020 00:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total occupants, Source]

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